Magazine September 2013

All the latest information from the textile world

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EcoStar – a real all-rounder with numerous benefits

Long-lasting, energy-saving and environmentally sustainable – those are the key advantages of the newly-developed EcoStar felting needle. Its numerous benefits have caused a minor revolution in the felting sector. A lower needle cross-section while maintaining stability thanks to its edge profiles, a newly-designed RF barb with an improved grip on the fiber and thus more compact fabric integration, reduced wear – all these aspects make the EcoStar into a product that not only further improves the production process but also has a positive impact on value-added and the eco-balance.

Good for production – longer needle & barb service life

Field tests have proved that in comparison to standard needles, the EcoStar felting needle has far better wearing characteristics: Wear and tear on the barb is significantly lower than with a standard product. The 13 percent smaller needle cross section on the EcoStar is also advantageous thanks to the stabilizing edge profiles: its breaking and bending properties are identical to those of a standard felting needle but, thanks to lower penetration forces, there is less stress on the EcoStar during the production process. This adds up to longer needle life overall and also extended performance, due to lower wear on the barb.

Good for the environment – less energy required

Just an imageComparison of the looping angle of the fiber: standard felting needle (l) and EcoStar (r)

The special shape of the needle – the convex working part core and the three edge profiles evenly staggered around the needle core at 120° intervals – reduces the needle cross section by 13 percent. This means that less penetration force is required during operation, so power consumption is also reduced. A major part in this energy saving is played by the special form of the barbs in the edge profiles, which enable an even tighter looping angle of the fiber at the undercut.

As a result, with high fabric weights the EcoStar enables power cost savings of up to 7 percent in relation to a standard felting needle. At first glance this may seem only a minor advantage, but overall it can mean up to one kilowatt hour of energy savings per machine. Seen in terms of one calendar year with 180 workdays and with 85 percent machine capacity utilization (20 hours, 7 days a week), and at an electricity price of 10 cents per kilowatt hour, this results in savings of 328 Euros

Felts are more compact and better-looking

In addition to all these benefits for the production process and value added, the newly developed EcoStar can also contribute to an improvement in product quality as compared to the standard needle. Due to its new edge geometry the RF barb is differently formed, resulting in lower material distortion at the sides of the barb. This results in a tighter looping angle of the fibers: the yarn is gripped better and the felts produced by the EcoStar are more compact.

Further visible advantages of the EcoStar are the smaller penetration holes, and also the reduced material displacement during penetration – both enabled by the reduced needle cross-section. This gives the product surface a far more even, high-quality look.

And finally, the renowned Groz-Beckert quality also guarantees constantly high process reliability and reproducibility of these outstanding results: tolerances down to thousandths of a millimeter in the production of EcoStar felting needles ensure their absolute evenness.

EcoStar – minimum outlay, universal in application

In all areas of application so far tested, standard felting needles could be replaced by the EcoStar with minimal setup, and without any negative effects on product properties. Changes to machine parameters are now a thing of the past. With this needle, extending customers' product ranges is user-friendly and problem-free.